Psalm 23:5-6 (part 3)

Isn’t it amazing to be able to trust someone so much that even when we go through dark, dismal places that we don’t need to fear because we are never alone and we have the most incredible loving provider and defender and care taker.

I love this Psalm. There is so much beauty and depth within the words written here.

These last 2 verses resound inside me with their promises and truths.

Imagine being brought to a dining hall and the doors are thrown open and you are escorted in and an incredibly important person shows you the most incredible feast laid out and it’s all for YOU! It has all your favorite foods and drinks and even some that are specifically nourishing to what you need at this exact moment. It’s been laid out perfectly to honor YOU!

Now imagine that your “enemies” – the people who have been opposed to you, or angry with you, or jealous or resentful, or who have been treating you badly – have all been brought in to witness you receiving this great honor. It would be a weird feeling, wouldn’t it? We aren’t used to being extravagantly honoured, especially in front of those who oppose or persecute us!

Can you truly fathom what it is to be honoured by the Creator of all? Think about that for a moment.

It was customary at the time for the host to lavish extravagance on their guests, to provide for their every need and to protect them.

So not only are you being provided for and honoured and exalted, but you know that you are completely safe and can be relaxed and refreshed at the same time.

Having your head anointed with oil was also to refresh and revitalize you; if your cup runs over it means you don’t lack, you have more than enough. There is an abundance of blessing and provision in your life. How amazing is that! There’s something incredible that happens inside of us when we acknowledge truths that we know but may not feel.

We can “feel” a lot of conflicting emotions but when we align ourselves and our “feelings” with His truth there is peace and joy, even in the middle of uncertainty and chaos. The acknowledgment here is that He does refresh and revitalize us and that He provides for us is in abundant ways. We can trust that He is our good Shepherd.

Without a doubt, with all certainty and confidence and assurance……..that’s what “surely” means.

Without a doubt, with all certainty, confidence and assurance, goodness and mercy (God’s tender love that doesn’t give us the punishment that we deserve) will follow me – they will persue me – all the days of my life. I will be chased after by His goodness and His mercy every day for the rest of my life.

And that’s not the end because even when I die, I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. That’s the hope that we have as believers. That when all is said and done, it’s not just the end. It’s a whole new beginning and we will spend eternity with the one who loves us most; with the one who created us, who gave His life for us.

How incredible is that?

I love this Psalm and the meaning and imagery within it. Take this Psalm and recognize the immediate presence of it. The personalized reality of it…..the relationship between Him and You. Hold these truths tightly and it will change your life.

THE LORD is MY Shepherd, I shall not want. HE makes ME to lie down in green pastures. HE leads ME beside still waters. He restores MY soul.

When we truly encounter the reality of His love and His truth and His presence, we are changed. We can’t help but be changed.

Shattered and Beautiful

I was thinking about times in my life when I’ve felt so shattered and devastated by situations or circumstances.

I’m talking about the times when you feel so beaten down or broken that you don’t even feel like you have it in you to worship or praise or rejoice your way out of the situation. What you want to do is fall on the ground in a heap and either have a tantrum; or sob until you can’t breathe, or both. Or maybe you just want to curl up in the fetal position and hide……have you been there or is it just me?

I love how real David expressed himself in the Psalms. The Psalms are gritty and glorious and real; and filled with emotion and heartache and suffering and joy and praise and worship and even frustration and a desire for revenge. They’ve got it all and when I have no words to speak what my heart is feeling; there’s always something in the Psalms that resonates with me, no matter the situation or circumstance.

In Psalm 51:15-17, David is feeling all the feels and he cries out to God because He knows that praise will help him move beyond his immediate feelings. You’ve got to know that he’s not feeling like praising. He feels locked up, maybe shut down; but He knows what He needs to do.

He acknowledges that God isn’t interested in the surface things like how good we present ourselves or what we offer or give up to make ourselves look or feel better about something.

I think verse 17 is one of my favourites.

Think about the picture it presents. God’s pleasure is released like a fountain bubbling up and overflowing when we scrape up the pieces of our heart and offer them to Him. When we come to Him with all our brokenness and wounding and shattered pieces and say, “Here. I don’t even know what to do anymore.”

Have you ever had someone despise you? It’s an awful feeling. Especially if they are despising your weakness? It’s like getting kicked when you’re already down. But God won’t despise you when you come to Him shattered. The opposite of despise is to cherish, adore, admire, love; that’s how He will receive you when you bring your broken pieces to Him.

Imagine. Imagine feeling like you’ve been broken into a million pieces and you can’t possibly see how you are worth anything to anyone in the shape you are in. You scrape together all the pieces and come before God with all the sadness and hurt and shattered-ness that you are feeling. And He looks at you with such love and compassion and holds all those pieces close to His heart until the warmth of His love softens them enough that He can mold and piece them back together into an even more beautiful masterpiece than what originally was.

May we offer those shattered pieces of ourselves to the One who loves us most. Trusting that He will create beauty from brokenness.

He knows

Have you ever felt like God couldn’t possibly understand what you are going through? I know that I have.

I’ve even said, “But God, you never went through “this”. “This” is huge and awful. How could you possibly know what this feels like?

I remember saying that to God years ago, when I felt so betrayed by some people. And He said to me, “I, too, have been betrayed. I know exactly what that feels like and it’s hard and devestating. Especially when it’s people you think you can trust and who claim to love you.

I remember when Nathaniel died and I wanted to scream “..but you never had a son who died…” oh wait…

I remember crying out to Him, in pain and confusion, “God, I hurt so bad. It hurts to breathe, to move. I feel like I’m dying. When have you ever felt like this?”

Ya, I don’t know that I’m the most reverent when I talk to God but He loves me even when – and maybe especially when – I’m feeling raw and broken.

It was a few days later that I came across this verse and it hit me straight to my heart.

Jesus was in the garden of Gethsemane. And He knew. He knew he was about to be betrayed. He knew that He was giving
His life for ones who both did and didn’t believe. He knew the agony that was coming. He knew. He wished he didn’t have to go through it all but was willing to because of love.

He said to His friends,

Matthew 26:38 TPT

“My heart is overwhelmed and crushed with grief. It feels as though I’m dying. Stay here and keep watch with me.”

He knows. He really does know. And because He KNOWS – You can trust that He is with you, staying and keeping watch with you. You are never alone.

He knows.

Community & Connection

There is only 3 days until the start of the next Art Challenge and I do hope you join us. It’s such an incredible and soul filling experience to purposefully engage your creativity for 30 days.

One thing that’s so valuable as we start this journey is COMMUNITY. It’s amazing to join in with others who are expressing their creativity; to be encouraged and inspired by them. You are also part of the encouraging and inspiring process for others. It’s this incredible loop that cycles around and fills your soul. So if you don’t already follow my Facebook Page, click on the link below and follow me.

XANGELLE

I’m going to send you there right now to follow or like or whatever it is that you do to join and see posts because that is where we will be sharing our daily art and creativity. Each day there will be a post with the Day and Prompt. We will be sharing our art in the comments of each day’s post.

That way we can all see who is playing along with us in this Art Challenge . It’s a great way to collect the art for each day and we can encourage each other as we go along. Think of it as a virtual gallery. I’m excited to see what you create.

So if you haven’t already, go give my page a follow. I’m so excited to start this art challenge and to see where our creativity leads us.

Everyone is Creative

This might sound controversial but I completely and wholeheartedly believe that every person is creative.

Not me, you say! I don’t have a creative bone in my body.

I don’t believe it.

We are all creative. Some of us believe it, more than others. Some of practise more than others. Some of us are fantastic at drawing; others are incredible at problem solving. Some of us see the world in a unique way. There are those can create pictures with words and others who can make people feel safe, loved and accepted with their actions.

If you look up the definition of create, it is to bring something into existence or to cause something to happen as a result of one’s actions. We create all day every day and we don’t even realize it.

Can you imagine how amazing it would be to create beauty on purpose?

This 30 day Art Challenge is to inspire you to create beauty and fun for a month, on purpose. To practise creativity in an encouraging, non-stressful way. A practise is just doing something regularly in a habitual way.

We provide the theme. You put out the effort. There’s no judgement allowed. Especially self judgment. We just do it. We just create. Some days will be amazing. Other days might be challenging but the goal is to be intentional and purposeful about releasing creative energy on a daily basis.

We’d love to have you join us.